Points of Controversy

10.2. Of the Path and Bodily Form

Controverted Point: That the physical frame of one who is practising the Eightfold Path is included in that Path.

Theravādin: You must then be prepared to affirm also that bodily form is like the Path-factors subjective, having the mental attributes of adverting, ideating, co-ordinated application, attending, volition, anticipating, aiming. You deny this and rightly, for surely the opposite is true.

The three factors of the Path in which you deem things corporeal to be included—supremely right speech, action, livelihood—these, you affirm, are not subjective, not having the mental attributes above-named.

But the other five factors of the Path—supremely right views, aspiration, endeavour, mindfulness, samādhi—these, you admit, are subjective, and have the mental attributes above-named.

If you affirm the absence of these mental characteristics from those three factors of the Path, you must also affirm their absence from all these five factors of the Path.

Mahīsāsakas, Sammitīyas and Mahāsaṅghikas: But you admit that supremely right speech, action, and livelihood are factors of the Path, and these are manifestations of corporeality. Surely then the practiser’s physical frame is included in the Path.